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Aunt Jemima – She’s Not Just For Pancakes Anymore!

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By Gini Rainey

Growing up in a small, north-western town in Minnesota wasn’t as bad as you might imagine.  Sure, Moorhead has the distinction of being right across the river from the third coldest city (Fargo) in the United States (which pretty much tells you just how cold it is in Moorhead!) and winters can seem to last forever, but when the sun comes out, so do the people.  I remember my childhood being filled with lots of parades, fireworks displays, trips to the lakes, and fun events such as Greater Moorhead Days.  The earliest reference I can find for Greater Moorhead Days is 1957, and according to Dewey Bergquist, a long-time air personality in the area, “I don’t recall ever seeing a community with so much good natured get-together spirit as Greater Moorhead Days generated.”

GMD had parades, city-wide treasure hunts, and a fun-filled Saturday that boasted live entertainment, prize drawings, and an all-you-could-eat pancake breakfast with Aunt Jemima herself flipping the pancakes!  This extravaganza was always held in the Moorhead Armory which was built as a federal depression relief project in 1934 on 5th Street, just about 6 blocks from where I lived.  Another distinction for the Armory is that it was the venue that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were to perform at the evening of their deaths in a plane crash, February 3, 1959.

So, I think it might have been the GMD of 1962 that I decided I would walk over to the Armory, eat some pancakes, and maybe win a prize – and win I did!  I won a bushel basket filled with groceries and an aluminum step ladder that I still have.  But, I’m here to tell you that walk home seemed more like a mile or two with the step ladder hooked over my shoulder and my arms getting longer by the minute carrying that basket – but I was a winner!

(Segue) I have a cute little “Morning to Midnight Cook Book: 340 Unexpected Treats from Aunt Jemima” sitting here in front of me! Published by Follett Publishing Company in 1969, it’s interesting to note that not all of the recipes use Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, as you might be expecting.  If you’re like me, you weren’t aware that Aunt Jemima, Flako Pie Crust, and Quaker Oats are all owned by the same company, so that definitely broadens the variety of ingredients used in this book.

Let me share with you an unexpected use for Aunt Jemima Syrup – a recipe for Chinese Barbecued Spareribs.  Using 4 pounds of lean, separated spareribs, rinse in boiling water and place in a shallow roasting pan with meaty side up and bake in a 450° oven about 30 minutes until browned.  Remove the drippings and combine ½ cup chili sauce, 1 cup vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon instant minced onion, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ cup soy sauce, and ¼ cup Aunt Jemima Syrup in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and pour over the spareribs.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and continue baking 30-45 minutes longer, basting occasionally with the sauce.  Serve with plenty of napkins – and oh my, this is some mighty fine eating.

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Spend the Summer Reading


“Bring Me Back”
by B. A. Paris
Just when you think an author can’t out do their last book, they jump right out there and do it!  Filled with even more deception and intrigue than her first two books, Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown, Paris’ latest book will keep you spell bound until you turn the last page.  Telling the story about the mysterious disappearance of Layla from the perspectives of Finn, his girlfriend, and his fiancé while moving between the past and the present, it’s no wonder that Paris has carved out her niche in the psychological thriller genre.

As Finn digs deeper to determine who might be behind the disappearance and strange emails, his list of suspects grows to encompass even his closest friends.  Because Ms. Paris is a master at building believable characters, the reader finds himself drawn into the intrigue and feeling a certain empathy for everyone involved.

In Bring Me Back, Paris explores how traumatic events can impact, not only the individuals immediately involved, but also everyone they come in contact with.  Not afraid to explore new avenues of intrigue and mystery, she has created yet another spell-binding page turner that will keep you guess till the very last page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – St. Martins Press

“The Sisters”
by Janet Kay
If you’re looking for a book to read this summer that is filled with history, ghosts, romance, and family discord, this is the one for you.  Set in current day Galveston, this story tells the story of Veronica and Isabella, two sisters who had once be in love with the same man.

Weaving a spell around not only present-day Galveston, Kay’s story helps to explain the reason so many of the historical sites in this Island community are haunted.  From the pirate Jean Lafitte to the estimated six to twelve thousand people who lost there lives during the hurricane of 1900. Described as the deadliest natural ever in the United States, this storm took the life the of sisters’ grandmother, who continues in her afterlife as Isabella’s spirit guide.

If you are familiar with Galveston, and even if not, this book is an intriguing read that pulls you into its web of family deceit and mystery as the sisters strive to learn where they have come from and reconnect on a congenial level of understanding and acceptance.  It will definitely keep you turning the pages to find out where it all ends.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – World Castle Publishing

“Neema’s Reason to Smile”
By Patricia Newman
This delightful book, colorfully illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, tells the story of Neema and her mother who share big dreams for their life in Kenya.  Neema wants to go to school, while her Mama, who sews clothes by hand, dreams of a sewing machine and perhaps her own business. By not only entertaining, but also educating, Newman’s story sends the message to all that where there is a will, there is a way.

Motivated by actual students at the Jambo Jipya School in the town of Mtwapa, Kenya, where many kids are unable to go to school, Ms. Newman’s story provides inspiration to children of any age to never give up hope for a better life through education.

A lovely feature of this book are the glossary, discussion questions, and activities at the end of the book.  Although geared for younger children, the message won’t be lost on older readers.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – Lightswitch Learning

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Book Worm Central: July Events & Book Signings

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July 31st (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Beach Music” by David Graham. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Club Reads’ events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

August 4th (3-7pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash – 80 authors are attending! There will be a free children’s reading at 12:30-2:30pm prior to the book signings beginning at 3pm. There will be multiple children’s authors present to read their stories and there may even be characters present to interact with the kids. Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12-$17. If you have a child 13 and under, they will be able to get in for $5 the day of the event. VIP tickets will get you in 30 minutes earlier and a tote bag full of goodies. The children’s reading is free to attend.


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Chill Out With A Cool Book

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By Gini Rainey

Send Down the Rain – By Charles Martin 

In his thirteenth novel, this New York Times Award-winning author successfully weaves the lives of several different people into a wonderful tale of love and sacrifice that will leave you thinking.  Taking Joseph, a Viet Nam veteran with many scars to heal and Allie, who has recently lost her families business in Florida, Martin created a novel that is full of lots of raw emotion that will keep you turning pages until you come to the surprising conclusion. 

Joseph, a victim of PTSD, has chosen to live in his cabin in the Carolina mountains with his dog, Roscoe.  That is, until Catalina and her two children stumble into his life.  Making sure to get them away from her abusive, drug running captor, he loaded them up and drove them to Florida to meet up with her brother and close to where he and his brother had lived before they grew up and grew apart. 

Charles Martin has skillfully created such believable characters that you will find yourself totally immersed in the plot and all that takes place.  Without leaving your chair you will find yourself involved in the panic of flight, the angst of unrequited love, the unselfish sacrifice of a brother and the joy of rediscovering a lost love. 

This is a definite “must-read” for this summer and is guaranteed to keep you wondering until you turn 

Five of Five – Copyright 2018 – Thomas Nelson 


Lang’s Labyrinth: Forest of the Fae Book Three – By K. Kibbee 

This book came to me as an advanced reading copy from the publisher and because I love to read, I was excited when it arrived in the mail.  Then I realized it was “one of those books.”  You know, the kind I would never pick up on my own – one about goth, faeries, fantasy, changelings, etc.  I was also concerned that, because it was the third book in a series, I might not have a clue about what was going on. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Yes, this is a book about all of the above, however, it is also, on a much deeper level, about trying to figure out a mystery that was based on a secret code.  The main character, Anne along with her best friend Grace, who has been changed into a raven, is on a quest to solve the code so she can change Grace back to human form and rid the forest of all the faeries.  Along the way she meets some very interesting characters, and believe it or not, I found myself trying my best to solve the code too.   

I won’t even begin to let on how this book turns out for that would ruin all of the mystery and intrigue that Kibbee has created, but let me say it will take you on quite the adventure and make your summer reading most enjoyable.  Remember this too, don’t be afraid to try something new – you might discover you really like it – I know I did. 

Five of Five – Copyright 2017 – Incorgnito 

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